January 18, 2012 | 1:22 p.m.
By Samantha Allgood '12
Bethel Seminary San Diego’s Distinguished Lecture Series welcomed Christian environmentalist Susan Power Bratton, chair of the Department of Environmental Science at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, to present a series of lectures this fall.
Her final lecture, “Christian Environmentalism 101: Toward a Sustainable World(view),” addressed the question “Do religious ties influence environmental ethical responses?” Bratton began with an argument posed by the nation of China, which raised the question of whether or not it would make a difference if there were more Christians in the world, implying that Christians are not concerning themselves with pressing global issues—specifically issues regarding the environment. She addressed the appropriate “religious response” by citing Genesis 2:15, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it” (ESV).
Seminary students engaged with the lectures by attending and by exploring the issues further in classes and informally. “I would have to agree with the importance of the need to examine our stewardship of the natural resources God has provided His creation here on earth,” comments student Jeffrey Doria. “If we are truly called to be a light in this world, does our light within the context of our Christian faith shine upon those who we deeply desire to become a witness to?”
Bratton concluded her lecture with a challenge to remain faithful to the Biblical charge of honoring God’s gifts. She proposed four implications: 1) Do not destroy—respect living creation; 2) Care for the entire community, the poor, the widow; 3) Affect no damage to neighbors and contribute to environmental welfare; and 4) Convey God’s truth to the local and greater community.
“Dr. Bratton's presentation helped us see that God's creation is indeed beautiful and complex and to realize that as His worshipers and disciples, our love for Him ought to be expressed in humble care for what He has made,” reflects Adjunct Instructor John Mustol. “Here at Bethel Seminary San Diego, we hope to begin exploring what that might look like for each of us and for the Lord's church.”